Watch The First ‘House Of The Dragon’ Scene With Emma D’Arcy As Rhaenyra Targaryen

House Of The Dragon is aging up its younger cast-members, and introducing a bunch of new characters to the show as well, in this coming Sunday’s episode.

As I’ve discussed previously, this is due to the show’s massive time-jump between Episodes 5 and 6, which sees the timeline move forward a full decade.

The two biggest characters being recast are undeniably princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, the young queen. Milly Alcock is being replaced by Emma D’Arcy as the princess, and Emily Carey is being replaced by Olivia Cooke as the queen.

In the clip below, we also see John Macmillan as Laenor Velaryon, replacing Nate Theo in the part. We didn’t see much of Laenor up to this point. He battled atop his dragon Seasmoke in the third episode, and wept through his wedding to Rhaenyra in last week’s shockingly brutal entry.

But mostly, Laenor has been a side-character. Now, aged up, we see him alongside Rhaenyra who has just given birth to a baby boy. She’s carrying the infant and walking from her chambers when he arrives, much to his shock. “What are you doing?” he asks incredulously.

“She wants to see him,” Rhaenyra replies through gritted teeth.

It seems fairly obvious who “she” must be. Clearly the dynamic between Rhaenyra and her old pal, Alicent, has not improved in the intervening years. We were given glimpses of the direction the friendship was headed in Episode 5, with both her father, Otto Hightower, and her new friend Larys Strong planting seeds of doubt in her mind. She also appeared to form a new alliance with Ser Criston Cole, Rhaenyra’s spurned lover and member of the Kingsguard.

Certainly summoning Rhaenyra to bring her newborn infant to her all the way across the Red Keep is not an act of kindness or compassion. We’ll find out more Sunday. For now, here’s the clip:

I think D’Arcy is quite good in the role. I’ve watched Episode 6 so I’ve seen both D’Arcy and Cooke as Rhaenyra and Alicent and the casting is spot-on, as much as it pains me to lose Alcock and Carey.

Each plays an older, more worn down version of these characters—women now, girls no longer, cut into sharper edges by time and struggle. D’Arcy’s Rhaenyra has gained wisdom and toughness. She’s harder now, but less fiery, unburned by the girlish brashness of youth. Cooke’s Alicent has lost her timidity entirely, and has become a savvy political power in her own right. It’s a bit jarring, to be sure, but it propels the story forward into new and fascinating places.

House Of The Dragon tells the story of the tumultuous Targaryen dynasty during a time of uneasy succession. King Viserys has named his eldest daughter, Rhaenyra, heir to the Iron Throne, but the patriarchal Medieval society is loathe to accept female rulers. This pits Rhaenyra against his young wife, Alicent, who has born Viserys male heirs, including Aegon, who many believe should be king.

War is coming, it seems—the brutal civil war later known as The Dance Of Dragons. It’s only a matter of when. Here’s the preview for Episode 6:

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